Subaru BRZ review

Subaru BRZ review

The Subaru BRZ is one of the best kept secrets of the auotmotive world.

Developed alongisde the near-identical Toyota GT86, it’s an affordable back-to-basics front
engined, rear-wheel drive 2+2 sports coupe.

For 2017, Subaru has given the evergreen BRZ a mid-life facelift, equipment upgrade and distilled the trim options down to just one – SE Lux.

Subaru BRZ review

The exterior design tweaks are subtle, apart from the old school aerodynamic wing at the rear. Elsewhere, there’s a new front bumper, LED headlights and 10-spoke 17-inch alloys.

You can choose from five colours, though Subaru’s iconic WR (World Rally) Blue Pearl is surely the one to go for.

Inside, a 4.2-inch LCD colour display is added to the instrument display, featuring such sporting essentials as a G-Force meter and braking gauge.

Subaru BRZ review

The leather steering wheel is now smaller and boasts audio controls, while plastics generally have been upgraded or replaced by leather, giving the cabin a more upmarket feel.

The Alcantra and leather seats are more comfortable than ever (the driver’s seat has a six-way adjustment), while a 6.2-inch touchscreen has been added to the centre console, though sat nav is a £1,250 option.

The infotainment system is not as hi-tech as the best of them, but it does the job and, of course, offers full connectivity.

Subaru BRZ review

Traditionalists will be pleased to note that the cockpit is still adorned with plenty of retro-feel knobs and toggle switches.

The rear passenger seats are fitted with ISOFIX anchor points, but as with most 2+2s, they are
almost totally useless. Better news in the boot where there’s 243 litres of space available – 1,270 with the rear seats folded flat.

The 2017 Subaru BRZ is more driver focused than ever. Sadly, there’s no extra power for the 2.0-
litre 200PS ‘Boxer’ petrol engine, but it is more responsive, it still sounds suitably throaty and CO2 emissions are slightly lower.

Subaru BRZ review

Elsewhere, Subaru’s engineers have made various changes (to the steering, suspension, dampers and
brakes) to tweak the driving dynamics and make the BRZ even sharper than before.

Priced from £26,050, the BRZ is one of the most entertaining cars you’ll find for that money.

The chassis is better than ever and it’s enormous fun on flowing country roads. Agile and engaging, it’s helped by a slick six-speed short-throw manual gearbox and it feels totally
planted.

Subaru BRZ review

For the record, the BRZ is capable of 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds (but feels faster) and it tops out at 140mph. Fuel economy is a claimed 36.2mpg (and it not far off that in the real world), while CO2 emissions are a very average 180g/km.

But here’s the thing. The BRZ is also now available with automatic transmission – and it’s a bit of a revelation.

Subaru BRZ review

It may sounds like sacrilege in a sports car package like this, but the auto box slams through the gears pretty well – even producing the odd pop on down-changes, allowing you to concentrate on the driving. The engine even sounds more sporty.

Verdict: The new, improved Subaru BRZ is better than ever. With a mild makeover inside and out, plus enhanced driving dynamics, it has to be one of the best-value, most entertaining sports cars
on the market – and it still looks just as cool.

Review by Gareth Herincx

Subaru BRZ review

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Citroen C3 review

Citroen has regained its mojo of late and the new C3 supermini is proof positive.

The outgoing car sold well enough, but it was bland – something that could never be said of the third generation C3.

Funky and distinctive, it takes some styling cues from its big brother, the C4 Cactus, so it boasts features such as Airbumps on the doors, the two-tier headlight signature, straps for internal door handles and a clutter-free dashboard.

Citroen C3 review

With its chunky, cheeky styling, it certainly will have urban appeal, but it’s the opportunity for personalisation that also sets it apart.

Thanks to its “floating” roof, it’s possible to specify two-tone paintjobs. In fact, there are 36 colour combinations available, meaning that you’d very unlucky to end up with the same look as your neighbour. There are also three interior trims.

If we had to spec up a car we’d go for the Polar White body, Sport Red roof and Colorado ‘Hype’ ambiance inside, though Power Orange with an Onyx black roof and a Red ‘Urban’ ambience interior looks good too. Frankly, there’s a lot of fun to be had configuring your C3 before you even get on the road. Oh, and we’re saving the best bit till later, so read on…

Citroen C3 review

The new C3 is available with a thrummy 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine with three power outputs (68PS, 82 and 110), plus a lazier 1.6-litre diesel unit (75 and 100).

There are three trim levels – Touch, Feel and Flair – while the range starts at £10,995.

There’s a reasonable amount of tech as standard, including cruise control, DAB radio, Bluetooth and lane departure warning, but you have to move up to mid-level ‘Feel’ (from £13,045) before you get a 7-inch touchscreen with full connectivity, alloy wheels and wheel arch extensions.

Citroen C3 review

We tested two top-of-the-range ‘Flair’ versions of the C3, with a PureTech 100 petrol engine and a BlueHDi 100 diesel unit, both mated to 5-speed manual gearboxes. The engines are tried and tested across the Citroen, Peugeot and DS, and highly recommended.

The petrol unit is capable of 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds and a top speed of 117mph, while 61.4mpg is possible on paper, and CO2 emissions are low 103g/km.

The diesel has a top speed of 115mph, it can reach 62mph in 10.6 seconds and is capable of 76.3mpg, while CO2 emissions are just 95g/km.

Citroen C3 review

The choice you make depends on your regular driving patterns. For more local, lower average speed journeys you might be better off with the petrol version, but if you spend hours cruising on the motorway, the more relaxed diesel would be best.

With light steering, good visibility, comfy seats and plenty of space up front, the C3 is a classic and classy supermini.

Luggage space is a decent 300 litres (rising to 922 litres with the rear seats folded down), but taller adults may struggle for leg and headroom in the back (especially if you opt for the full-length panoramic sunroof).

Citroen C3 review

The handling is good too, unless you try to drive it like a hot hatch when body roll becomes more apparent and it’s slightly unsettled over rougher surfaces.

That said, the C3 isn’t likely to be bought for its ability to be driven at speed over challenging roads – this is a car that will spend most of its time pootling around and looking very cool.

Now we come to the C3’s pièce de résistance. In what Citroen calls a world first, it’s available with a built-in GPS-enabled dash camera, called ConnectedCam.

Citroen C3 review

Concealed within the housing for the rear-view mirror, it allows you (though preferably your front seat passenger) to take pictures of the road ahead, or short videos. Just press a big button below the mirror.

So, whether it’s a bizarre car up ahead, a traffic jam or an unbelievable sunset, there’s no need to miss it. And if that’s not enough, you can instantly share your media via social media using a free app.

With GPS as part of ConnectedCAM,  you can also geolocate your vehicle and store the position so that you can find it easily, so no more hunting around dark multi-storey car parks when you’ve forgotten where you parked the car.

Citroen C3 review

Most importantly, in the event of vehicle impact the system switches on automatically to record and save. The video can run for up to 1.5 minutes (30 seconds before and 60 after) and the footage can be useful as evidence.

As you can see, the C3 has a lot to offer and the headline figure of £10,995 sounds good, but the reality is that you’re going to have to spend closer to £15,000 in order to get the must-have options including the touchscreen, Airbumps and ConnectedCam.

Verdict: The new Citroen C3 is a breath of fresh air. Funky, comfortable, easy to drive and boasting a pioneering piece of tech, it will rightly be on many people’s supermini shortlists in 2017.

Review: @GarethHerincx

Citroen C3 review

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Renault Scenic review

MPVs were all the rage back in the day, but then along came SUVs and crossovers of a similar size and their popularity plummeted.

Renault reckons sales have now reached a plateau and there’s still plenty of mileage left in people carriers. So much so that it’s launched a fourth generation car (and stretched seven-seater Grand Scenic sibling).

Some 6.5 million Scenics have been sold globally since Renault pioneered the compact MPV segment in 1996. However, the new car is like no other.

Renault Scenic and Grand Scenic

Priced from £21,445, the Scenic and Grand Scenic boast a dramatically distinctive design with sculptured, swept-back styling, a steeply-racked windscreen and big standout 20-inch wheels.

Elsewhere, there are key features we’ve come to expect from the ‘Renault Renaissance’ including a maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating, a strong mix of economical petrol and diesel engines, excellent packaging, a state-of-the-art infotainment system and a classy feel.

Starting with the interior, the new Scenic is slightly wider than its predecessor and has a longer wheelbase which means there’s more space inside.

Renault Scenic

Always a strong point for any MPV, the Scenic doesn’t disappoint with ample room up front and in the rear (though check the rear head space if you plan to carry taller passengers), plus there’s a class-leading 572 litres in the boot or 1554 litres with the back seats folded down, (there’s a simple ‘One Touch’ operation which can be activated from inside the boot or via the touchscreen).

The Grand Scenic is much the same, just a little longer and with a third row of seats, though it has to be said these are really only for small children. There’s 189 litres of boot space with the third row of seats in place – 596 with the seats down.

In both the Scenic and Grand Scenic, nifty little fold-down picnic tables are available for rear seat passengers.

Renault Scenic

The lower part of the centre console also slides back into the rear seating area. It’s certainly different, but we’re not 100% sure why. Yes, it frees up a bit of space up front, but maybe the main reason is to separate children a little in the back or just to give them extra storage and closer USB ports. Who knows?

What we do know is that the interior is bathed in light and the visibility is excellent thanks to acres of glass, that enormous windscreen and an optional full length (fixed) panoramic sunroof.

The seats are very comfortable and the driving position is high, which should suit SUV and crossover buyers. The Scenic also sits slightly higher than the outgoing model.

Renault Scenic

A large centre dial dominates the binnacle in front of the driver, while to the left sits Renault’s excellent R-Link 2 infotainment system featuring a generous 8.7-inch portrait touchscreen, first seen in the new Megane, with full connectivity.

There are four trim levels (Expression+, Dynamique Nav, Dynamique S Nav and Signature Nav) and all variants get air-conditioning, electric windows, DAB radio and automatic emergency braking.

The list of other options and driver safety aids is extensive, ranging from Adaptive Cruise Control to an awesome BOSE sound system.

Renault Scenic

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